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What are Shellac Nails?

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Nail Art Sydney

Shellac nails are a form of nail polish, they are like a standard nail polish that has been blended with gel. They are a hybrid of sorts. There are at the time of writing over 100 different shades of shellac nails that you can choose from. The design has been developed and patented by Jan Arnold from Creative Nail Design (CND). From Jan Arnold herselfWhat makes shellac nails special is that they combine the best properties of gel nails (for wear and protection) and the best properties of polish (for glorious colour and shine)”. 

When the formula has been blended and exposed to a specialised bright LED light it cures the nails and creates a “Shellac” effect. This is where the name originates from. 

When getting Shellac nails there is a four-step process involved to get your nails looking amazing, the first step is a base coat layer that has to be cured under a lamp for about 10 – 15 seconds, following this the first layer of nail polish is applied and cured under the light for just over 2 minutes, the second layer follows this step and then for the third a top coat is applied and cured for a further 2 minutes. To finish the manicure an isopropyl alcohol is sprayed onto each nail which removes the film on the surface and leaves your nails looking beautiful and shiny.

What are the differences between Shellac and Gel nails?

A large proportion of people often confuse Gel and Shellac nails. This is a likely as a result of Shellac nails containing gel, so many people get their terminology mixed up when they are looking for Shellacs but asking for Gel nails, their expectations are not being met. Covered below are some of the key differences between the two which should remove the ambiguity. 

Gel nails have a longer lifespan

Shellac nails have nail polish mixed into their formula, which means that they are a little bit more prone to chipping than gel nails are.

They have a different formula

As you may well have already guessed, gel nails are made from (cue the drum roll)  a liquid gel formula. The gel is a combination of acrylic monomers that harden under and set under UV lights, creating that a very smooth, glossy finish. Shellac nails as aforementioned are made from a compound of gel polish mixed with a standard polish formula.

Gel nails are difficult to remove.

To remove gel nails you have to do a lot of filing work, which can wear down your and tear your nails, making them feel fragile. Check out allure removal methods to do this safely.

How long do shellac nails last?

Shellac nails typically last between (depending on environmental conditions of course) 14 days to a month. Which is longer than a standard manicure. If you leave them for too long though your natural nails will grow out leaving a look that is not the most flattering! (Sorry, not sorry!

How do I remove shellac nail polish?

You’ll most likely want to visit a salon to get your shellac nails removed. It’s a quick procedure—shellac nails can be removed by a manicurist in less than 15 minutes because of a special remover made just for shellac polishes. The acetone-based remover breaks down the coating of your shellac nails, making them easy to remove. If you don’t have time or money however and would like to remove your Shellac nails from home. Follow these steps below:

  • First and foremost you will need to get your kit setup. Get five cotton pads and split them in half, then get 10 large tinfoil squares, acetone polish remover and a nail file.
  • Using your nail file gently file over the tops of your nail polish, then soak a piece of cotton wool in acetone and apply it to the nail. Secure the nail by wrapping it with the foil square. 
  • Leave it sit for about 15 minutes in which time the gel polish will have separated from your real nail.
  • When removing the final bit of polish from your nails you can gently lift the polish off with manicure sticks, if it doesn’t come off easily you will have to continue soaking the nails for a little bit longer. 
  • As your nails have been soaked in acetone for the last 15 minutes they will be dehydrated. You should apply cuticle oil to rehydrate your nails and use a nail growth product to maintain your healthy nails. 

The bottom line. If you are doing this from home, please do not attempt to simply lift the nails off, this will cause you damage and pain.

Are shellac manicures safe?

UV lamps will be used in the process of applying Shellac nails, and as we already know, too much UV exposure can be very bad for you. That said recent studies suggest that the amount of damage caused by UV lamps for this purpose are negligible. For peace of mind and to protect your skin however you can apply SPF cream to your hands and fingers at least 20 minutes before your treatment. 
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